Recorded as Heritage, Heritege, Heretage and possibly others, this is an English status surname. It was given originally to someone who held land or property by right of inheritance, rather than by a feudal gift from an overlord. The derivation is from the pre 10th century French word "heritage", which was introduced into the British Isles after the Norman Conquest of 1066. As a surname it probably also owes something to the way that the French redistributed the English lands. The surname from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th century, (see below) and other early recordings include John Heritage in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of Oxfordshire in 1273, whilst two centuries later according to the Marriage Licence registers of the city of London, Thomas Snowden and Alice Heritage were married there in 1558. Ralph Heritage of Dukenfield, in Cheshire, appears in the Wills Register of Chester in 1578. A coat of arms associated with the name has the blazon of a silver field charged with fesse and chief gules, two silver knights spurs. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Erytage. This was dated 1272, in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist, and known to history as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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